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Sunday July 14th, 2024

Sri Lanka industries grumble over latest electricity tariff hike 

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s energy intensives firms say they are struggling to face the latest electricity tariff hike amid worries over losing competitiveness.

The state-run Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) has raised the tariff by 66 percent with effect from February 15 after a dragged clash between the CEB and the power regulator, Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL).

“Already the Prices are up and we don’t actually know whether we might go for an increment or we are going to stay at the same price for now,” Ishaq Muzzammil, the Managing Director of tile manufacturer Marcopolo told EconomyNext.

“We are already planning out because if you take our category, we are into a high business market product. So, already our prices are expensive compared to the normal tiles. Increasing the prices again is not a good idea. We have to squeeze our margins.”

Analysts say manufacturers of chemicals, iron & steel, food & beverages, cement, tiles, and paper are hit by the latest move very much.

Many of the manufacturers cannot pass the price to consumers as disposable income has sharply fallen with the recent tax hike. Increasing prices would discourage customers from buying the products, some manufacturers say.

Lanka Confectionery Manufacturers Association (LCMA) President S.D. Suriyakumar said the latest price hike “will definitely have a direct effect”

“But we have not yet calculated how it is going to go around. But whatever it is, even if it is going by 10 percent that will definitely have a direct rate effect and a bearing from our operators,” Suriyakumar said.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s government already raised electricity prices by more than 60 percent last year to prevent the collapse of loss-making CEB.

The latest price hike comes as the CEB raised fixed costs for lower and medium level electricity consumers along with the electricity units.

The tariff hike along with over 80 percent inflation has resulted in a chaotic market in the country as the authorities failed to maintain stable prices of goods and services.

“I can say that the business would collapse,” N.K Jayawardena, President Chairman of the All Ceylon Bakery Owners’ Association told EconomyNext.

“We can’t invest now. We have to borrow to pay such high electricity tariffs. We just have to look at it and see what will happen to us,” Jayawardena said.

The Power & Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekara on Thursday said the CEB will now ensure uninterrupted power supply as the latest electricity tariff hike has been approved by the regulator the PUCSL. (Colombo/Feb16/2023)

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Ex-US President Trump shot at in campaign rally

ECONOMYNEXT- Republican nominee to the upcoming polls and former US President Donald Trump has been shot during a campaign rally, media reports said.

The bullet grazed the ear of Trump, who is reported to be doing well.

The gunman was shot and killed by secret service snipers within second of firing the shots at Trump.

At least one civilian was killed reports said.

Television footage showed blood in Trumps ear.

As he was hustled out of the venue by Secret Service officials Trump was seen shaking his fist in the air. (Colombo/July14/2024)

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UNESCO DG to discuss archaeological endeavours in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka: President

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s president has said that he will discuss initiatives for long-term archaeological endeavours in the Anuradhapura city with visiting UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay.

Azoulay will visit Sri Lanka from July 16-19 and take part at the celebration of the 75th Anniversary of Sri Lanka’s membership of UNESCO at the Nelum Pokuna Theatre in Colombo.

She will also travel to UNESCO World Heritage Sites around the island, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

“I have invited the Director General of UNESCO to visit Sri Lanka and discuss initiatives for long-term archaeological endeavours in the Anuradhapura city. Several universities overseas have shown interest in supporting us for these activities, and we are moving forward with their collaboration,” Ranil Wickremesinghe said.

“Anuradhapura boasts a rich history spanning over a millennium, once renowned as a hub of trade and economics. Preserving and exploring this ancient city’s archaeological treasures remains a significant endeavour.”

“New archaeological efforts in the Anuradhapura district are now imperative,” Wickremesinghe said during a ceremony to inaugurate a 150-kilowatt solar power system installed by the LTL Group at the Sri Maha Bodhiya premises in Anuradhapura on Saturday (13).

Wickremesinghe pointed out that UNESCO has undertaken extensive archaeological projects in Angkor Thom in Cambodia, and Luang Prabang in Laos.

“However, we have not taken the necessary steps to implement these activities in Anuradhapura city. Therefore, I have advised both the Department of Archaeology and the Cultural Triangle to undertake these initiatives.”

These efforts are part of a comprehensive program aimed at establishing Anuradhapura as a globally renowned city, Wickremesinghe said.

While Sigiriya has gained international fame, Sri Lanka has not adequately highlighted Anuradhapura’s historical significance as a major trade and economic center in the past, the president pointed out.

“Cities like Tanjore (Thanjavur), Madurai, and Sanchipuram are often discussed, yet Anuradhapura, the fourth city, has been overlooked. Therefore, it is crucial to develop Anuradhapura city.”

As part of these initiatives, preparations are underway to establish new hotels in Anuradhapura, which will contribute significantly to its development, Wickremesinghe said. (Colombo/Jul13/2024)

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Government committed to improving living conditions in Jaffna: Sri Lanka PM

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s prime minister, who is in Jaffna “to monitor the progress” and “get a little feedback” has said the government is committed to improving living conditions of the people in the northern peninsula.

“This government is dedicated to improving the living conditions of the Jaffna Peninsula,” Dinesh Gunawardena told a Jaffna District Coordinating Committee meeting on Friday, according to a statement by his media division.

“In order to increase the living conditions, we have embarked on an increase in most of the expenditure needed by the departments, and also special allocations for rural and urban development in the local government area.”

Nationalist Gunawardena met with Tamil politicians at the Jaffna Divisional Secretariat Office and participated in the distribution of rice and egg incubators for low income families.

“A special privilege to be with you all, in order to monitor the progress made by all of you, as well as to get a little feedback where we stand today in relation to the reports given.”

Gunawardena joins a string of leading political figures who have visited the north ahead of upcoming polls.

The government was, he said, “committed to improve the services and living conditions, therefore, to provide the necessary infrastructure for developments, which means much to your area.”

The prime minister said he appreciated the efforts of farmers because “farmers are all private sector, I would say. Let us not forget, farmers are all in the private sector, either in the ownership or in the tenancy. They are private contributors to the national development of the economy.”

The poverty numbers are “fairly managed” in the country. Gunawardena said, pointing out that poverty was a key problems in any economy. “Any country, you would agree with me, the richest country, in the United States even, food stamps have been given. So all economies the world are going through difficult situations in relation to the poor.

“We have to look after the poor especially in these remote villages of the Northern Province…”

Minister Douglas Devanada, MPs M A Sumanthiran, Angajan Ramanathan, C Vigneshwaran, Dharmalingam Siddharthan, and other officials participated in the meeting. (Colombo/Jul13/2024)

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